The nine European Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) agencies, the European Commission and a number of international organizations and expert bodies have met to discuss how to fight environmental crime more effectively.
During an online seminar, on June 1, participants discussed environmental crime from different perspectives. Presentations by the European Commission’s DG JUST and Eurojust focused on judicial aspects, Europol covered its Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment and Project EnviCrime, and EMCDDA discussed links between drugs and the environment. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Interpol provided a global picture of environmental crime. DG TAXUD and CCWP provided a valuable perspective on the role of customs officers in fighting this type of crime. The maritime dimension of environmental crime was presented by the European Commission DG MARE, EMSA, EFCA, Interpol and Frontex by discussing the most effective ways to combat environmental crimes at sea.
The seminar was organized by Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, as part of its presidency of the JHA Agencies Network. This year, the nine JHA agencies are focusing on actions to support the environment and fight environmental crime as part of the EU Green Deal.
“Our goal this year is to look for ways in which the Justice and Home Affairs community can contribute to and support the objectives of the European Green Deal. Frontex is strongly committed to the fight against environmental crimes, which requires concerted action due to its organized and cross-border dimension,” said Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri opening the seminar.
“Today I would like us to look at the problem not only from the border guard or police perspective but to focus on a more comprehensive picture – involving both European and international actors,” he added.
Frontex, along with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) and national authorities involved in maritime safety, is active in making the waters around the EU safer as part of the EU Coast Guard.
The Justice and Home Affairs agencies are also actively engaged in fighting this type of crime as part of EMPACT activities of the EU Policy Cycle. During the meeting, experts from JHA agencies presented recent case studies and operational activities, as well as tools at their disposal to combat environmental crime. A dedicated session on how the challenges can be addressed jointly was presented by CEPOL and networks dealing with environmental crime – EnviCrime Network and ENPE.